ACLU Wants Michigan Governor to Veto Bill Against Coercing Women Into Having an Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 2, 2016   |   11:30AM   |   Lansing, MI

It is hard to fathom why anyone would oppose legislation that protects women from being coerced to have an abortion, but the ACLU is doing just that in Michigan.

The legal group and abortion activists are pressuring Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to veto two bills that crack down on sex traffickers, abusive partners and others who often coerce women to abort their unborn children.

The bills passed the state Senate last week and are in the hands of Gov. Snyder. Michigan House Bill 4787 would add to the state’s current anti-extortion/coercion provisions by making coercion to abort a specific crime, and House Bill 4830 would make violations punishable with stiff fines, according to the Right to Life of Michigan.

Studies show that coerced abortions are frequent with about half of women saying they felt coerced to have abortions, but these studies are often ignored by the abortion industry and its advocates. Victims of sex trafficking also report that their abusers frequently force them to have abortions.

However, abortion activists openly are opposing the protective measures, and they are trying to persuade Gov. Snyder to veto them.

Merissa Kovach, field organizer for the ACLU of Michigan, told Electablog that the legislation is “sloppy” and the penalties for coerced abortions are “excessive – $5,000 and $10,000, which is 10 to 20 times higher than the cap on misdemeanor fines in the state of Michigan.” Kovach implied that these penalties are too harsh for the crime and that coercing a woman to abort her unborn child should be treated like any other misdemeanor.

Abortion activists said they have other problems with the bills, too:

Michigan HB 4787 and 4830 do nothing to protect women from other forms of domestic violence and reproductive coercion, including forcing a woman to have a child against her will. A woman is far more likely to be forced to carry a child than to have an abortion, but when Democrats introduced amendments that would include protections against those forms of coercion, they were voted down by Republicans.

… And, of course, the problem remains that the legislation doesn’t do anything to help women who experience other kinds of reproductive coercion.

Abortion activists also have denied studies showing that women often are coerced into aborting their unborn babies.

During a Senate committee debate earlier in May, Kovach contested the studies, claiming, “Scientific studies have shown that that number is much more closer to below 3 percent,” according to Michigan Live.

State Sen. Rick Jones responded that protecting even 3 percent of women from coercion still is important.

“If 3 percent of abortions in Michigan are coerced, that needs to stop,” Jones said.

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Chris Gast, communications director for RTL of Michigan, previously told LifeNews that the bills will require abortion clinics to post a sign and have a screening process in place. He said it also will help pregnancy centers and counselors help women who may be being coerced to have an abortion.

“We know coerced abortions are happening in Michigan and these will hopefully provide important life-saving tools,” Gast said. “The abortion industry refuses to acknowledge abortion coercion is a serious problem despite studies showing its existence. They refuse to address this, so we will.”

Michigan Right to Life, which supports the bill, reported that one study found 64 percent of women who had abortions said they were coerced by a partner or parent.

The Coercive Abortion Prevention Act “is commonsense legislation that will help protect a woman from being coerced into an abortion against her will. Evidence and testimony shows abortion coercion happens frequently to women facing crisis pregnancies,” the group said.

“These bills will give women the legal backing they need when being coerced to abort, and help prevent the tragedy of physical assault and murder of pregnant women,” it continued.

In the past several months, LifeNews has reported several cases of women whose partners physically abused them because they refused to have an abortion. In several cases, the coercion and violence resulted in their unborn baby’s death.

Action: Contact Gov. Snyder and urge him to sign the bills.